Cincinnati Bengals player Devon Still and daughter Leah Still (FOX19 NOW file)
Proceeds from $1.3 million in sales from Devon Still's jersey are presented to Cincinnati Children's Hospital for pediatric cancer research (FOX19 NOW file)
The official statement from Devon Still on Leah and child support (Photo: FOX19/Jeremy Rauch)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
A news report out early Wednesday accuses Cincinnati Bengals player Devon Still of not paying child support in months for Leah Still, his cancer-stricken 4-year-old daughter.
The New York Daily News reports nationally-known civil rights attorney Gloria Allred represents Leah Still's mother and delivered a letter to the NFL Tuesday asking the league to investigate if the defensive tackle has violated its Personal Conduct Policy by failing to pay child support for the girl.
Leah Still is being treated for a rare pediatric cancer neuroblastoma.
"I don't think it's fair that Devon Still, who is Leah's father, has refused to pay any child support for her for the months of August, September, October and November of this year," reads a declaration from Leah Still's mother, Channing Smythe, that accompanied the letter addressed to NFL vice president Jeffrey Pash, according to the article.
Smythe admits Still has paid child support in the past and claims in the article that she can't work while her daughter is undergoing treatment.
At the beginning of this season, Still was put on the roster after he was cut from the Bengals so he could keep his medical benefits to help pay for Leah's treatment.
Smythe claims to be living on food stamps and receiving help from friends and family to get by while facing mounting medical bills from her daughter's condition she cannot afford to pay without child support from Still.
Smythe says she knows that Still loves Leah and has been a good parent but that his daughter "deserves both love and child support," the article reads.
Smythe and Leah live in Delaware, but the child recently flew to Cincinnati to watch her father play for the first time in person. She was the darling of that Nov. 6 Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns game as the Bengals presented a $1.3 million check from money generated by the sale of Still's No. 75 jersey - to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center for pediatric cancer research.
While there has been no immediate reaction so far from the NFL on the allegations, Still appears to have responded to the article on his Twitter feed.
Still released a statement Wednesday through the Bengals that read: "My daughter's battle with cancer has been inspirational to many all over the world. When she gets older, I want her to be able to look back and read about her positive impact on the world, not about the private issues her parents were going through. I am not going to retaliate against the mother of my daughter, and the untruthful reports in the New York Daily News article, by criticizing her character. I am going to continue to allow the court system to handle this matter, as it has been doing these past couple of months."
Bengals' Head Coach Marvin Lewis says the organization is still behind Still as the legal process carries out.
"We are not privy to all the facts, but Devon is very confident that he is taking care of business the right way," Lewis said of Still. "We're going to continue to support him, very confident in the things he has done."